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KU News Release

Nov. 23, 2005
Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

KU doctoral student wins Accenture American Indian graduate scholarship

LAWRENCE -- Melissa Renee Holder, a doctoral student in social welfare at the University of Kansas and member of the Winnebago Tribe, is one of three graduate students in the United States to be named an Accenture Fellow through the new American Indian Scholarship Fund for exceptional American Indian and Alaska Native students.

Accenture, a global consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, awarded 11 scholarships nationwide, providing a total of $110,000 to support graduate and undergraduate education. The awards were three graduate fellowships, three undergraduate scholarships and recipient awards to the five finalists.

Holder, who teaches social science at Haskell Indian Nations University, is tentatively planning to research the changing tribal roles of indigenous women for her doctoral dissertation.

Edward R. Canda, professor and chair of KU's doctoral program in social welfare, said, "Melissa Holder's studies and research in the Ph.D. program in social work will build on the strengths, resilience and empowerment of indigenous communities. I am very pleased that she has received this well-deserved honor."

Besides teaching at Haskell, Holder has also been an academic adviser there. She also earned an associate's degree with an emphasis in social welfare in 1994 from Haskell. Her bachelor's (1997) and master's in social welfare (2000) are both from KU. She is a 1992 graduate of Horton High School.

Holder and her husband, Stan, a master's degree student in KU's indigenous nations studies program, have two children: Alexandra, 5, and Stanley III, 4. Holder is the daughter of Joyce Pelkey of Topeka.

More than 100 students applied for the scholarship fund. Selection was based on academic excellence, demonstrated leadership ability and a commitment to the American Indian culture and community. Holder learned about Accenture's new American Indian Scholarship Fund last fall while visiting the American Indian Graduate Center Web site,

In addition to the scholarships, the recipients will be eligible for summer internships with Accenture as first-year graduate students or junior-year undergraduate students.


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